Last Sunday (July 18th) I decided to drive out to Paris Mountain to run the course for the upcoming 7K trail run. I have not been running much in the Vibrams and not much in my running shoes either! Actually my running has really dropped off due to work, travel, and medical conditions. I figured I should do a test run in the Vibrams before the actual race on August 14th.
After arriving on site I noticed that I did not bring a course map so I decided to start off at the park entrance and run the 6K course from memory. After the brief ½ mile run on pavement I turned right onto Mountain Creek Trail. The beginning of the trail is full of rocks so I had to be careful but then it quickly turns into dirt and the going was easy. After about a mile or so you turn left onto Sulphur Springs trail, you then cross the paved road and start up the trail to the right near the picnic shelter. This section of trail as you head towards the dam probably gave me the most difficulty. It is full of roots so I had to really concentrate on my foot placement.
I continued on Sulphur Springs and unknowingly took a short cut. The last time I ran the Paris Mountain Run it was a 6K and we turned up at this small shelter before the dam. However, now the run is a 7K and you go to the dam. Nevertheless, I continued on down towards the paved road then took a left on the paved road and headed up hill. For me this is probably the toughest part of the run because it is a steep grade. I have seen many people just walk up that road and I have to admit it is exhausting. But I managed to continue a slow pace up the hill and turned right onto Archery Range trail, and then connected back into the Sulphur Springs trail.
At that point I believe you are about ½ done with the run but most of the remaining part of the trail is downhill so that makes you feel a little better.
About 1/8 mile past the connection to Sulphur Springs trail I got stung on the leg by a yellow jacket or some other sort of wasp. I did not see what it was but it put a good sized welt on me. Of course that helped me to quicken my pace a little!
Sulphur Springs connects back into Mountain Creek trail and I finished off the run at the Ranger Station Pavilion.
Due to the fact that I cut a corner my run only came out to 4.13 miles instead of the 4.35 miles. Total time was about 36 minutes which is an okay time I suppose.
Conclusions: The 7K trail run is tough on your ankles and feet, however, with the Vibrams on I must admit my feet where feeling a little more beat up then usual. I did not do any ankle twist but I did step on a couple of painful roots and rocks. All and all I was satisfied with the run and plan on going out there for another test run this Sunday. The Vibrams are starting to look a little worn and have developed a foul odor. I have been washing them thoroughly after runs to help reduce the smell. Some of the stitching is coming loose too. I am not sure how many miles I have in them but I did expect them to hold up a little better.
Have a great day,